COVID-19 Has Forced More Than Three-Quarters of Banks to Change Their Future Banking Strategy

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The banking industry faces a watershed moment, with banks re-evaluating strategies and accelerating plans to digitally transform

Marqeta, the global modern card issuing platform, today released a report that examines how banks intend to change their strategies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the findings, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on almost all (96%) European banks, with over three-quarters (78%) planning to change their future banking strategy to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour, such as the accelerated adoption of digital banking services and cashless payments.

The study of 200 banking executives found that, as a result of growing demand for digital services, 80% of banks have accelerated their plans to digitally transform. Banks also predicted that digital transformation projects will need to be delivered in two-thirds (69%) of the time, with 89% saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically increased the speed of change in banking from years to months. The study also found that:

  • Three quarters (75%) of banks “weren’t prepared” for the scale of change that COVID-19 has triggered in consumer behaviour.

  • 88% of banks were overwhelmed by the demand for online and mobile banking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, banks say that digitally transforming to improve the online and mobile banking experience (76%), offering new, differentiated payments services (70%), investing in security and anti-fraud solutions (70%) and modernising core banking and payment platforms (66%) have all increased in priority.

“The future of banking has come around quicker than most expected. The onset of COVID-19 accelerated many trends in consumer behaviour, with more people moving away from cash and adopting digital services such as online and mobile banking,” comments Ian Johnson, Managing Director Europe at Marqeta.

“These are all trends that were set to slowly change over

Immune evasion strategy used by Malaria-causing parasite — ScienceDaily

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The Plasmodium parasite, which transmits malaria to humans through infected mosquitos, triggers changes in human genes that alter the body’s adaptive immune response to malarial infections, according to a team of researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). The findings could bring hope for novel therapeutic strategies and a vaccine to the hundreds of thousands of people who die annually from malaria, a preventable and curable disease, and another three billion people who are at risk of infection.

The NYUAD researchers, in collaboration with the Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme in Burkina Faso, NYUAD Assistant Professor of Biology Youssef Idaghdour, Associate Scientist Mame Massar Dieng, and Aïssatou Diawara, studied the blood of children in rural Burkina Faso, West Africa, and have discovered a new immune evasion strategy used by the Plasmodium parasite.

In the paper titled Integrative genomic analysis reveals mechanisms of immune evasion in P. falciparum malaria, published in the journal Nature Communications, the team of scientists studied the immune responses and genomes of the children before, during and after infection. They found that a class of genes, microRNAs (small molecules which play an integral role in regulation of genes involved in immune response) cause cell death of adaptive immune cells when in the presence of the Plasmodium parasite. Once the parasite avoids the immune response in the blood, it is then able to proliferate and invade other blood cells. It was also discovered that some microRNAs are under genetic control, which may explain why individuals and populations vary in their ability to cope with infection.

The largest burden of the disease occurs in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the negative socio-economic consequences are significant. The search for effective and sustainable therapeutic strategies for malaria has been stalled by a limited understanding of the sources of

Mercedes Benz details new brand strategy

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German automotive brand Mercedes Benz has just announced a new strategic course that will focus on profitable growth in the luxury vehicle segment and target leadership in electric drive and car software.

“We intend to build the world’s most desirable cars. It’s about leveraging our strengths as a luxury brand to grow economic value and enhancing the mix and positioning of our product portfolio. We will unlock the full potential of our unique sub-brands – AMG, Maybach, G and EQ,”  shares Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes Benz AG.

With regards to the new strategy that Mercedes Benz announced, Källenius comments: “With this new strategy we are announcing our clear commitment to the full electrification of our product portfolio and our determination to ensure the business is fully carbon-neutral, in line with our Ambition 2039 target.”

AMG
AMG

Mercedes Benz’ new strategy is a comprehensive program designed to propel the company forward both technologically and financially. It has six pillars:

1. Think and act like a luxury brand

Mercedes Benz has always been a luxury brand. Moving forward, the brand is focused on being more connected to its luxury roots, making it an integral part of all products in their range, a part of customer interactions, as well as digital technologies. The brand is set to reshape its whole playbook, which includes their product portfolio, brand communications, and its sales network in order to deliver the true luxury experience to its customers: a luxury experience that the brand claims will be “electric, software-driven and sustainable.”

2. Focus on profitable growth

The brand will also focus on taking actions to improve and recalibrate its market strategy. Part of these will focus on optimizing the balance between volume, price, and channel mix in

Joint Counter-sUAS strategy to address need for improved technology | Article

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense is slated to release its counter-small unmanned aircraft systems strategy next month, bringing an open-system architecture and enterprise approach to the military’s capabilities.The Army-led Joint C-sUAS Office, or JCO, has worked to align current and future counter-drone technologies to support operational requirements at home and abroad, said Maj. Gen. Sean A. Gainey, the program’s director.The increased threat posed by drones, combined with a lack of dependable networked capabilities to counter the unmanned threat, has created a concerning “tactical development” within U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, Gainey said, paraphrasing a recent statement made by its commander.Classification of unmanned aircraft systems is divided into five category groups. The defense secretary appointed the Army as the executive agent for counter-small UAS groups one through three, said Col. Richard Wright, the JCO deputy director.These first three categories represent smaller, low-cost drones, whose rapid proliferation can threaten personnel and critical assets, or impact the military’s ability to conduct various operations. Groups four and five identify larger UASs typically controlled by state-actor threats, according to JCO officials.Close to 90% of the military’s counter-drone capabilities are electronic warfare-type systems, Gainey said. Many of these weapons use lasers or microwave-signal propagation to disrupt the communications link between user and device.“However, the threat is evolving,” Gainey added, as the joint force now has to account for swarm and autonomous drones, in addition to off-the-shelf technology. Further, an increased number of threats in an airspace can potentially overwhelm a C-sUAS system’s operator.This shift led the JCO to revise the Defense Department’s C-sUAS requirements and build a networked systems approach. Officials are also considering artificial intelligence and machine learning options to help discriminate and track possible threats.The Army also plans to incorporate its C-sUAS capabilities into the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command

Accelerating our future and growth strategy

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Below is the message I shared with IBMers today.

Team:

On my first day as CEO, I made a commitment to the growth of IBM. I stated that a maniacal focus on our open hybrid cloud platform and AI capabilities is key to this outcome. Day by day, product by product, project by project—we are dedicated to helping our clients unlock the immense value this represents.

Building on the solid foundation Ginni has put in place, we are focused on accelerating our growth strategy and seizing the $1 trillion hybrid cloud opportunity.

As we work toward this goal, two things are becoming increasingly clear. First, we’re seeing a tremendous increase in client demand for our capabilities and expertise. Second, we’re noticing that client buying needs for application and infrastructure services are diverging.

Because of this, we have decided that the managed infrastructure services business of our GTS segment will become an independent company, which we’re initially referring to as “NewCo.” We expect the new company to be created sometime toward the end of 2021. IBM will sharpen its focus on its open hybrid cloud platform and AI capabilities. And the new company will focus on delivering managed infrastructure services.

I am confident this is the right move and that our collective future is brighter as a result. I am excited about the path ahead and the tremendous value we will create by having two companies focused on what they do best. This will benefit our clients, employees, and shareholders and place both IBM and NewCo on an improved growth trajectory.

IBM: Growth through greater focus on our open hybrid cloud platform and AI

To drive growth, our strategy must be rooted in the reality of the world we live in and the future our clients strive to build.

Today, hybrid